Board of Trustees conditionally approves JDUC redevelopment

$10 million in donor funding needed before construction begins

Plans for redevelopment will be ready for March 2020, according to Martinez.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

After spending years seeking studentapproval for the JDUC redevelopment, the AMS has one final challenge: raising $10 million in donor funding.

The Board of Trustees conditionally approved the JDUC project on Mar. 1, requiring the AMS, SGPS, and University to raise a minimum of $10 million in donor and alumni funding before constructioncan begin.

“I think $10 million, personally, is a lot of money,” AMS President Miguel Martinez said in an interview with The Journal. “But I think the University is constantly running campaigns like this and kind of going outand getting donor funding.”

Martinez pointed to the Richardson stadium redevelopment in 2016—in which Queen’s secured millions in donor funding—as a sign the Society will be able to raise the funds necessary for the JDUC project. He called the donors for Richardson’s revitalization an “exclusive” set of alumni who were connected to the stadium, including past football players, and believes the JDUC project can cast a wider net to generate alumni funding.

“A student life building is a building that’s for all students. And donors usually like to see their donations impact as many people as possible,” Martinez said.

The AMS will work with the University’s Advancement Office to approach potential alumni for donations, but can’t beginthis process without the Board’s approval, which is why it’s considered conditional.

“We’re not allowed to basically start building anything and moving forward with construction until all of the funding is in place, but at the same time, we’re not permitted to go out and start raising money from donors until the project has received the full and final approval from the Board of Trustees,” Martinez said. “It’s kind of a chicken and an egg.”

He added the University will allow an upfront payment of $1.5 million, separate from the planned $10 million, to pay architectural firms HDR and MJMA to develop their designs over the nextseveral months.

The $1.5 million will be made up of University funding and AMS and SGPS student fees.

Currently, the architects have prepared Class D building designs, which are basic, early blueprints. Before construction can begin, however, the architects must prepare Class A estimates, which are more thorough, detailed designs that address structural components like electricity and plumbing.

These designs will be ready after the architects have consulted with electrical and mechanical engineers. 

Martinez said they should be ready by March of 2020.

The Board of Trustees also required that a Capital Redevelopment Framework Agreement be secured between the AMS, SGPS, and the University.

Martinez said this contract already exists and is currently undergoing legal review.

The Board’s final condition required confirmation that the recently passed student fee for the redevelopment remains mandatory under the Ford government’s Student Choice Initiative. 

Because the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities classified student building fees as mandatory in a technical briefing in February, Martinez said securing the confirmation isn’t something the Society is “worried about as of this moment.” He also emphasized the conditions proposed by the Board were expected, and not a surprise to the AMS. 

“I’m very glad that students will finally get a building that, hopefully, they can be a little bit more proud of,” Martinez said. 

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